What is the Difference Between a Website and a Web Application?
Most web users cannot actively tell the difference between a website and a web application. If this is you, don’t worry uncle Dave is here to help you out (wink wink!).
I know that before now you might think that everything that you see online with a URL is a website. But it’s really not. You see, one way I tell you the difference between a website and a web application is by saying “every web application is a website but not all websites are web applications”
If you are a developer reading this, it’s very important for you to know this difference because in the world of web development, websites and web applications are not even close to being the same.
For non-developers, knowing the core differences between a website and a web application will definitely help you to know whether you need a simple website for your business needs or a web application.
So without further ado, let’s dig in!
What is a Website?
A website is a collection of publicly accessible pages containing either documents, images, audio, text, or other files that users can acces through the internet.
A website is a collection of publicly accessible inter-linked pages containing documents, images, audio, text and other files that advertise or promote a particular brand or product online. Basically, it’s where your business lives online.
In order to access a website, you will need a URL which is entered into a search bar of a browser. This URL is the equivalent of your house online. Now if you are lucky enough to have SEO Experts working on your website, users may not even need to put in your URL to see you. They just have to search on anything related to your business and bam! you are there for them.
Types of websites
There are two main types of websites:
- Dynamic websites
- Static websites
Now that we know the two main types of website there are, let’s check out the various kinds of websites online today:
- Dating websites
- Blogging websites
- Educational websites
- Portfolio websites
- Personal websites
- Community websites
- Government websites
Why you need a Website
The main question you might ask at this point is: Do you actually need a website? Whether it’s personal or even for your business? Well the answer is YES – and here’s why:
- If you have a business, a website will allow you to showcase your products to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere.
- It will help you grow your brand as an individual or as a company.
- It helps create social proof, so others can see what you have done and what you do (which helps build credibility).
- It helps create an online presence where your clients are able to find you easily.
- It can be used as a source of income via advertising, and through monetization.
What is a Web Application?
Web applications are simply apps that live on the web(internet). Unlike your mobile apps which lives on your phones, or desktop apps which live on your PCs, web Applications (or simply web apps) are only accessible through a browser and internet connection.
As you might imagine, this applications are much more tasking and challenging to build compared to an average website. Examples of this applications are shopping carts, facebook, file conversion apps, photo editing apps (like canva), email programs and so on.
If you are a business owner, creating a web application for your business to retain your users or customers is a budget friendly alternative to mobile apps. This is because it will save cost as well as run on any platform that has internet access. Unlike mobile apps that may or may not work for both android and ios devices.
Characteristics of a Web Application
- They are scalable and cloud-hosted.
- They are cross-platform applications, meaning they can be run on any OS, whether it’s macOS, Windows, or Linux.
- They should be easily tested with automation.
Why you need a Web Application
Most companies today are shifting gears toward using web applications in addition to or instead of websites. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Easy to maintain and update
- Easily customizable – you can easily add more designs and features based on your preferences and user needs.
- Secure – data is stored in the cloud, meaning you don’t need to worry about data loss if your device is damaged. You can easily retrieve it.
- You do not need approval from various app stores, since they can be accessed via the browser.
- They support all modern browsers.
Differences between Websites and Web Applications
By this point you already have an understanding of what websites and web apps are. So now we’ll highlight their main differences.
Let’s have a summary of the key differences to better understand them:
|They provide visual and textual content, which can be viewed and read.||The user does not only view the page contents but also can interact with it and manipulate it, for example filling forms, chatting, editing videos and photos etc.|
|Authentication is not mandatory in regular websites unless you are signing up for something like a newsletter||They need authentication as they offer much broader services, meaning you will need to have a username and password to access services|
|They will display what has been searched for by the user||Tasks here are more complex, you will have to browse within to get a specific product in a page|
|Information here is publicly accessible||Information here is restricted to registered users, meaning without credentials you might not be able to access the data|
|It’s easy to develop since it requires only the basic web technologies.||It’s more challenging, because it requires a higher level of security and functionalities based on its purpose.|
|It is cheaper to host||Expensive to host since more components are required like a database.|
This article has helped to clear up any confusions between a website and a web application. Now the one to choose for your business will depend on your needs. for instance:
- if you need to showcase your skills and products, a website should be your go to.
- if you want a online tool to help you automate your process and get visitor interactions like e-commerce, a web application is your go to.
If you want to work with us to build and optimize your website or web application for SEO you can email us or visit our website for more information.
For developers like me looking for more detailed information on how to build web applications you can visit freecodecamp for that information
2 thoughts on “Difference between a website and a web Application: All you need to Know”
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